back to article 'Oppressive' UK copyright law: More cobblers from IP quangos

A new report by intellectual property campaigners has again put the UK on the naughty step. This year, as last year, activists list the UK alongside Brazil and Thailand as having the most "oppressive" copyright laws in the world. The report was published by an international NGO called Consumer International, but this delegates …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did I see that right?

    How on earth did the USA make the top 5? They tend to be just as bad as us at Copyright, just look at the RIAA and MPAA.

  2. Eponymous Cowherd

    Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

    The problem with Britain's IP laws is that they make criminals of most of us for doing things that most of us take for granted. Britain has no "fair use" provision, so any copying of copyright material, even copying a CD for use on your own mp3 player or DVD for use on your own PMP is considered an offence.

    The copying of the DVD is even considered a criminal offence because it involves circumventing copy protection.

    British IP law makes no distinction between "home copiers" and serial downloaders. We are all tarred with the same brush. We are all offenders.

    The point, here, is if you are considered a crook, you may as well behave like a crook. If you are considered a crook for copying your own DVDs, you may as well download them instead as you will be be considered a crook either way.

    1. Jeebus

      Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

      I don't think this counted the payoffs politicians and courts receive in America, only looking at the exact letter of the law, which may explain how it ranks so highly, yet in reality is easily down with us. With the RIAA and MPAA paying out hundreds of thousands to buy their own justice.

      Notice how on the positive side [America removed] it is largely countries on the grow, both technologically and intellectually like India, yet the bottom list shows countries in decline, like us in the UK.

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

        One company, Google, outspent Hollywood and the RIAA on SOPA lobbying.

        Tech industries had more lobbyists and more access. The "buying laws" line may have been true once but isn't anymore. Nothing gets through. Or hadn't you noticed?

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

          "One company, Google, outspent Hollywood and the RIAA on SOPA lobbying."

          But they have to - if they don't pay the protection money regularly RIAA will just redouble their efforts to extort cash from YouTube etc.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

      Yes, good point: our jails are heaving full of parody writers and format shifters.

      Is impersonating a Chelsea Pensioner still illegal? I think it is. Until recently it carried the death penalty.

      So copyright needs a bit of perspective. But there's no room for it in the paranoid freetard mindset, where the punter is always being victimised by The Man.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

        "But there's no room for it in the paranoid freetard mindset, where the punter is always being victimised by The Man."

        Indeed, that's why copyright on books is 70 years after the author's death. That way it rewards creators, even after the creators have died. And copyright on music was extended to 70 years, so that one hour's, admittedly very good, work in a person's twenties should provide for them for the rest of their life.

        A quotation, from Sonny Bono's widow, at the time a member of congress (taken from that ever-reliable Wikipedia):

        "Actually, Sonny wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever. I am informed by staff that such a change would violate the Constitution. ... As you know, there is also [then-MPAA president] Jack Valenti's proposal for term to last forever less one day. Perhaps the Committee may look at that next Congress."

        Yes, definitely consumer champions here.

        The Man endlessly attempts to rip off the public -- that is basically The Man's job -- and the public have found a way to rip off The Man. Swings and roundabouts. But The Man's way is legal and the public's way illegal, because one side writes the laws.

        (The Man screws people regardless of His shape, not just the music and movie industries: see Microsoft's double-digit shafting. The idea that multinational companies are not trying to screw every last bit of money they can out of the public is pretty ridiculous.)

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

          Politicians can pass laws making copyright last a million years and it wouldn't make any difference. If you can't enforce a law, it's meaningless. That's the point, and you've missed it.

          (Because you have the need to feel that The Man is "screwing you")

          Copyright term online is now about 45 seconds - and infringing online is pretty much guaranteed to be totally safe and free of a knock on the door.

          So carry on Torrenting by all means, but don't pretend that you're being persecuted - it just makes you look nutty.

          1. Bakunin

            Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals


            Out of curiosity, if in an ideal situation a copyright law could be enforced and everyone abided by it. What do you think would be a reasonable length of time?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

              Reasonable copyright period?

              I would go with 50 years, or life plus a little bit, whichever is shorter.

              Copyright should also only be personal, never corporate - you should be able to licence your work to a given company at whatever terms seem appropriate (including the possibility of exclusive perpetual licence with no public attribution, eg most work done for hire), but the copyright should remain yours and tied to your lifespan.

              - This does get more complex for works with multiple creators. That needs more thought.

              Finally, the copyright period for a given work can never be extended. If copyright law is changed after the fact, it cannot affect any content that existed before that date. This reduces lobbying to extend the period and matches other law - copyright is the only aspect of law that has been consistently changed retrospectively, and that's wrong.

              I'm undecided on what the 'plus a bit' should be, as it needs t be short enough to encourage companies to help keep their contracted acts alive (so they care if they are killing themselves), while long enough to help the creators dependants in the event of untimely death - and in the case of musicians, cover the spasm of interest that always happens if they die young.

              Of course, this will never, ever happen because in the real world copyright will get extended every time a certain mouse approaches the limit.

          2. David Hicks

            Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

            Of course it makes a difference, if it lasts a million years then people who copy after a reasonable amount of time are open to both private and public legal repercussions. Even if it only ever happens to a minority of people, the possibility is still there.

            Laws that can't be enforced are passed all the time. They're used to screw people that come to the authorities' attention for other reasons.

          3. Eponymous Cowherd
            Thumb Down

            Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

            "Politicians can pass laws making copyright last a million years and it wouldn't make any difference. If you can't enforce a law, it's meaningless. That's the point, and you've missed it."


            And the current set of copyright laws is almost totally unenforceable and, therefore, not fit for purpose. The media industry are running around like headless chickens trying to clamp down on copyright "theft", but their efforts are like trying to tighten their grip on a lump of Play Doh. The harder they squeeze the more squidges through their fingers.

            If they truly want to beat "piracy", they need to get the movie, music, software and e-book buying public "on-side". They can only do this by offering content at a rate and with terms that the majority see as fair and reasonable.

            It's easy to make a freetard. Just rip off an honest content buyer once and he is likely to look for other sources. But once he has discovered that freetard motherlode its going to be the Devil's own job to get him to start paying again.

          4. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. David Hicks

              Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

              "If the fair use convention applied in the UK, then said company would have been able to shrug their shoulders at me and go 'that's too bad'."


              Fair use laws in the US are broadly there so that consumers can make backups of works they have bought, and format shift them, and so that small snippets and segments can be used for purposes of criticism/review. Oh, and so libraries can exist, and the occasional educational exemption on photocopying the odd page.

              Please explain how fair-use laws would allow use of your music in a movie without payment. I genuinely don't see it and suspect you misunderstood your own standing. As far as I can tell you're spouting nonsense. Lawsuits go on in the US for this sort of thing ALL the time.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

                1. David Hicks

                  Re: @David Hicks


                  "The lawyer for their side tried to claim that the film was a documentary, and as such the makers were allowed to use 'small segments for the purposes of criticism / review'"

                  And if that was genuinely found to be the case, that they had used small excerpts for the purposes of criticism, then I would support them over you. Some uses should be protected, commercial or otherwise, regardless of your objections.

                  1. This post has been deleted by its author

                2. Tom 13

                  @AC Re: @David Hicks

                  Their lawyer can spew all the bullshit he wants to. If it had been taken to court here the same facts would have prevailed and you would have won.

                  The shame here is that such shenanigans are not routinely referred to The Bar so that the shameless hucksters are removed from the pool of available lawyers.

              2. Tom 13

                @David Hicks re: US Fair use

                I concur. Unless AC's piece were used by the same outfit and the contract under which it was originally written specified that they had unlimited use of the work, under the facts as he presented them he would have won the case. And I expect that had my exception been operative, he would have lost in the UK as well.

            2. MrXavia
              Thumb Up

              Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

              Good for you winning your case, I think commercial use should always be paid for!

              I think we need a fair use for personal use, mainly format shifting.

              I.E. CD -> MP3, DVD -> HDD

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @AC 12:20

              No they would not have been able to do that!

              The "Fair Use" provisions are explicitly for individuals (and their immediate family), and explicitly does not allow use of copyrighted meterial for commecial gain or free distribution.

              (I'm posting AC as I should be back working now :)

          5. Killraven

            Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

            "So carry on Torrenting by all means, but don't pretend that you're being persecuted - it just makes you look nutty."

            Several years back my ISP disconnected my service, without warning, completely cancelling my e-mail accounts in the process, so any e-mail sent to me simply bounced back to the sender with a does-not-exist error. The cause: friends of my son's were downloading movies on their own laptops while they were around visiting. Forgive me if I felt a bit prosecuted.

        2. NomNomNom

          Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

          What problem do you have against men? Are you one of these self-hating men/feminist types?

          All I see is you blaming the man and never women. You do know that women are in the music business too - not just men!

        3. Hollerith 1

          Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

          I do think the 70 years after death rule is madness -- gone are the times when a man's writing was expected to support his widow and children their their lives. But as an author myself, it would be nice if people did not decide my work was theirs for free because it was 'knowledge'. If knowledge is wanted so badly and gives so much benefit, why not pay for it? Sharing knowledge, unlike making bread every day, is a one-off thing: how do we rate the worth of one brilliant idea (process/song/poem) as an ongoing item of value? Should the writer of a classic song or an astounding insight get paid less becuase it has a single point of creation? Or get paid nothing at all, because it is liked so much?

          1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals @Hollerith 1

            how do we rate the worth of one brilliant idea (process/song/poem) as an ongoing item of value? Should the writer of a classic song or an astounding insight get paid less becuase it has a single point of creation? Or get paid nothing at all, because it is liked so much?

            In academia, a researcher might pay to have their article published in an Open Access journal. The idea might come to be seen as pivotal, and end up one of the most cited papers in its field; that academic wouldn't earn an extra penny, directly.

            Similarly, I'm paid a salary. The app I produce might go on to make millions for my employer (fat chance); but if it does, I won't see a penny. That's not quite as clear cut, but similar things have happened to artists.

            Of course, having pop groups and movies funded by the Arts Council might not be the best solution.

          2. bep

            Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

            Knowledge should be free, but creative works shouldn't. That's the difference.

            The reasoning is that it's important for the advance of all disciplines that knowledge should be shared and freely available. This is especially so since most new knowledge is based on previous people's work - standing on the shoulders of giants etc. A lot of creative work is too, but making it available is not necessary for the advancement of science, so the creators deserve an incentive and to be remunerated. Not many people have a problem with this, the problem they have is with record companies, publishers etc who all want to use proprietry formats and make people jump through unnecessary hoops to actually get the content they'd happily buy for a fair price.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

          "As you know, there is also [then-MPAA president] Jack Valenti's proposal for term to last forever less one day".

          And that, of course, is less than forever. The quoted words, by simply existing, offer us the possibility of perpetual free power by harnessing the motion of Hilbert and Cantor rotating in their graves.

        5. Eddie Edwards
          Thumb Down

          Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

          @ DavCrav, you are using two incompatible definitions of "rip off".

          In one case, The Man "rips off" customers by offering something they want at a price they are willing to pay (if they are not willing to pay, they do not pay, and are not ripped off). So the customer is given an offer, which he accepts, and because he thinks it is to his mind too expensive he then turns around and says he's "ripped off". This is "ripped off" as in "rip off Britain", and I don't see this being the exclusive preserve of the IP-related industries. It's not like food or petrol, either, where you have little choice but to pay up. You can always not have that CD. The whole thing is legal because this is how markets work.

          In another case, a fraction of the public "rips off" The Man by getting something they want without having to pay for it. Technically it's not theft but morally it pretty much is. That's why it's illegal. It has nothing to do with "The Man" making the laws he wants. Things like stealing = illegal. Things like making offers and having them accepted or declined by agents capable of free will = legal. Pretty damned simple if you ask me.

          Comparing these two "rip offs" using the same term is disingenuous in the extreme. I suppose it is equally valid to steal petrol or food if one decides they are "too expensive"? No, of course not. An exception is made that taking something without paying is OK so long as it doesn't *directly* cost the producer anything. It's a bullshit distinction. To my mind this moral high-ground crap is far more distasteful than the actual execution of the crime. It would be better if people had the intellectual honesty to admit they take stuff without paying simply because they can.

          PS: great article, Mr Orlowski! For once I agreed with everything :)

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

            "In another case, a fraction of the public "rips off" The Man by getting something they want without having to pay for it. Technically it's not theft but morally it pretty much is. That's why it's illegal. It has nothing to do with "The Man" making the laws he wants. Things like stealing = illegal. Things like making offers and having them accepted or declined by agents capable of free will = legal. Pretty damned simple if you ask me."

            Indeed, that is simple, as you said it. Just because you can make it sound simple doesn't mean it is though. The company producing Led Zeppelin's albums have a monopoly on Led Zeppelin albums; there are quasi-acceptable substitutions, but nothing really substitutable. (Compare to, for example petrol, where any company producing petrol can be contracted.) In cases of monopolies, we (sometimes) use regulation to stop them *ripping off* their customers.

            The fact that intellectual property is not actual property, and therefore cannot be stolen (taken with the intention of permanently depriving), and recognizing that intellectual property is of use, the government sets up a system of law to construct a notion of intellectual property, and what constitutes it. In exchange for being granted a somewhat artificial right (if you come up with a joke and tell me, and I tell someone else, should I be sued?), the creator agrees that after a limited time it becomes public domain.

            Oh, wait, that last bit doesn't happen now.

            And as for your last statement about "making offers and having them accepted or declined by agents capable of free will", what would you say if your water bill trebled? Do you consider that legal? Water is a necessity for living, but so is entertainment in today's society.

          2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

            Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

            @Eddie Edwards

            You seem to have a very warped sense of the moral high-ground in your argument, you seem to have no problem with one part of society ripping off another but when it is the other way around you find it objectionable.

            As most elReg fas may be aware; when EMI announced that they reissuing some of Morrissey’s/The Smiths back catalogue Morrissey issued the following statements:- "Morrissey would like it to be known that he has not been consulted by EMI/HMV/Parlophone [record labels, and not the retailer] with regards to two forthcoming boxed sets of Morrissey singles”, it continued: "Morrissey does not approve such releases and would ask people not to bother buying them. Morrissey receives no royalty payments from EMI for any back catalogue, and has not received a royalty from EMI since 1992.”


            Why is that the remastered 39 year old DSOM costs 40% more that the current chart offerings? Have Pink Floyd received a big advance for another mega-record deal? No, its because the target market is perceived to be older and hence have more disposable income.

            Take the case of CD WOW, they were importing legally produced CDs from Hong Kong but the copyright mafiaa decided that the European copyright notice was more expensive that the Hong Kong one. The copyright mafiaa can benefit from globalisation to drive down their costs (and drive profits up) but the European consumer can’t.

            Lots of other examples exist.

            To my mind this moral high-ground crap is the copyright mafiaa claiming that illegal downloading is hurting artists, seems to me that the copyright mafia are quite capable of depriving artists of income with out the help of downloaders, I find this far more distasteful than downloading, it would be far better if the copyright mafiaa had the intellectual honesty to admit they also take stuff without paying and gouge consumers simply because they can.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is impersonating a Chelsea Pensioner still illegal?

        Eh? What?

        Is stealing a loaf bread illegal? Until recently, it carried the death penalty....

        But anyway:

        --- impersonating a Chelsea Pensioner. Are they members of the armed forces? Should impersonating a soldier be legal?

        --- death penalty until recently? Define recently. IIRC, when it was abolished for murder, it was left in place for treason (and burning down naval shipyards?). And that was repealed, err... when?

        Talk sense, Man!

    3. NomNomNom

      Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

      It isn't YOUR DVD. No you CANT copy it.

      "Fair Use" is a scam. The only use you should have is that which the owner of the property (not you) permits.

      Can I copy a £10 note because it's MY £10 note? No I can't.

      1. chrisf1

        Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

        A near miss, try this. If you have a ruined £10 note you can get it replaced because it is an IOU and not the actual item of worth. Now try taking a ruined DVD of a film and try getting it replaced for the cost of incremental supply because you already have a licence for the content. (If you try this - please report back!)

        Fair use is as much part of the creation of intellectual rights as any other in countries where it exists as any other, just like expiration of copyright. The real debate is whether it leads to more, better content creation and economic growth than otherwise.

      2. hplasm Silver badge

        Re: "Fair Use" is a scam.

        Of course, you paid for your username or acknowledged the meme creator....?

      3. Rampant Spaniel


        No you cannot copy a bank note but if it breaks \ wears out you get another free. As soon as dollarwood dispenses free replacement disks I won't need a backup copy.

        Crap like this is why I left the UK. Yes copyright laws could be rethought but a big reason the UK became so prominant in the inddustrialised world was its inventors and designers, who could only do so because they were allowed to benefit from their investment of time and money. The same could be said of our creative industry, our writers, our artists, photographers, musicians etc. Between freetards and publishers wanted free content (or the power to take what they want at a price they decide) there is very little incentive left to create.

        How do you think it will go when an inventor / scientist / artist / musician etc approaches an investor with the line "I'd like X million to do this but due to dumbass freetards it will be instantly copied so we won't recoup any money". Where will the investment in films, music, art etc come from?

        1. TheOtherHobbes

          Re: Fail.

          Kickstarter and the other 'venture creativity' outfits are one alternative.

          The point about 'copyright' is that any creator who isn't a household name - and some of those who are - get screwed over by corporates anyway.

          The royalty system isn't exactly generous to creators. So the idea that xxPA legislation exists to benefit artists is laughable.

          And let's be intelligent and stop lumping patent law, creative industry practices and creators' IP rights together. In practice, they're barely related.

      4. Davidoff

        Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

        "It isn't YOUR DVD."

        Yes, it is.

        "The only use you should have is that which the owner of the property (not you) permits."

        You're not very bright, are you? The DVD is of course property of the purchaser and not the content creator. And the purchaser can do whatever he wants with his property.

        Only the copyright remains with the copyright holder, and this copyright means the purchaser of the DVD is limited in what he can do with the content.

        And saying that 'Fair Use' is plain stupid when the country which probably produces most of the creative content that is sold has had legal 'Fair Use' provisions for years.

      5. Trygve Henriksen

        Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

        No, you can't copy a £10 note, at least not closely enough to be mistaken for 'the real thing'.

        This is because it's a legal document with a special value attached to it.

        (You own the value that the note represents)

        Here in Norway it's illegal to 'circumvent effective protection mechanisms'...

        And fair use rules not only allows us to make our own copy(for backup purposes and so on), but also to lend the original(or copy) to close friends and family.

        The way I consider an original CD or DVD is as a 'proof of entitlement' that gives you the right to use the contents for YOUR pleasure whenever and wherever YOU are. If that means you have to copy the contents onto another media(possibly in another format) then so be it.

        (I have now ripped most of my DVD collection and converted it to .mp4 for easier access and stored all the hundreds of DVDs in the attic, next to my CD-collection... )

        As soon as you dispose of the original media, though, you no longer have the right to use the contents.

        1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

          Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals @Trygve Henriksen

          Here in Norway it's illegal to 'circumvent effective protection mechanisms'...

          Well then it not illegal because if you can circumvent the protection mechanism then it is not an effective protection mechanism, it is therefore an ineffective protection mechanism and, by implication, not covered by the law.


          1. Trygve Henriksen

            Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals @Trygve Henriksen


            I really like the wording of that law...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

          But if it's an effective protection mechanism the it can't be circumvented - and if you can circumvent it it can't be very effective, can it?

      6. peter 45

        Copy £10 note

        Yes I can. I can copy a £10 note. In fact I have just been to the photocopier and made a copy. i am now going to use that copy in any way that I choose for my own purposes. I am to use it as a substitue for a bog roll. However whether the treasury allows me to do it is another matter.

        What i an not allowed to do is use that copy as legal tender. i.e. in exchange for goods and services, nor can I copy it onto a bog roll and sell it.....or even give it away.

        That is what fair use should be all about. Once i have bought the CD, i shopuld be able to use it in any way i want for my own purposes - even copying it to transform it into a new format. Just as long i do it for myself and don't sell it or give it away.

      7. Andus McCoatover

        Can I copy a £10 note because it's MY £10 note? No I can't.

        Because it belongs to the Queen, I think.

      8. Killraven

        Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

        "Can I copy a £10 note because it's MY £10 note? No I can't."

        But you can certainly format-shift it as often as you like.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Britain's IP laws...... We are all Criminals

      I take for granted the fact i can do 75 on a uk motorway, i could drive past a police car, or speed camera, and get away with it. i still accept i'm doing something wrong, and i certainly wouldn't believe the speed limits should be changed, because i've got used to abusing them.

      No legal body ever told me of "fair use", i used to copy Records onto Tape, or Tapes onto CD, i still accept by the letter of the law, i did something wrong.

      Personally, rather than changing the copyright laws, i wish content makers were forced to adhere to the itunes music model, whereby i had tons of itunes DRM music. iTunes plus came along, and i got the option to upgrade for a small fee.

      Give me an address where i can send all my records, tapes, cds, dvds, blurays, books, xbox/ps3 disks and get the latest digital version of my content for a small fee, and i'll start doing it tomorrow.

      Once in the digital domain, people like Apple then have huge future revenue sources, so when MPEG8 or AAC+++++, or whatever come out, start converting all your back catalogue to a new format, and watch the money come rolling in.

      Even better, thats then another step towards fighting piracy. Buying things yourself then becomes a better proposition, because then you've got a automatic upgrade route for all the content thats important to you.

  3. JetSetJim Silver badge

    Damn commies...

    That's all A2K are. Wonder what that road leads to...

    1. MacGyver

      Re: Damn commies...

      Funny you should mention roads.

      So I guess we should all feel lucky that our road workers don't have lawyers like "content creators" have, or else we would be expected to pay by the mile to each worker that built it.

      I like "content creators", but just how much value do they think they deserve? So you wrote a book, why do you think that you should never have to work again? Why do you think that you should be paid forever for "work" you did one time? How long did it take to write said book? A week? A month? A year? Road workers make $50,000 a year, and they work in the sun, and heat, and deal with dangerous machines and hot tar. So there are 7 billion people on this planet, if we all give you $0.000007 a year that would equal $50,000, would that make you happy. How much do you feel that week or month of work was really worth? That is the problem, a road workers week is worth about $1000 dollars, yet because you're a "content creator" you think that your time is not only worth a lot more, but that you should also not have to work for the rest of you life, not only your life, but your kids life too.

      The bigger problem isn't that people aren't paying you, it's that you think that your work was created in a bubble, and that everyone owes you for your insight, or use of musical notes. What the A2K people believe is that you also owe something back to the society that created you, and that is for your work to become part of that society after you have been paid for your contribution.

      I personally think you should be paid, just not forever, and not anymore than the average worker in your country makes. If someone uses your work to make themselves money, then yes, you deserve a cut, but personal use should be fair game.

      Do you think that a hundred years ago people wrote one book, one song, painted one picture, filmed one silent movie, then sat at home and lived for the rest of their life off that one creation? Why do you think that you are entitled to it now. Hardly anyone's accomplishments are so important that we should all financially support them for the rest of their lives.

  4. Purlieu

    "The copying of the DVD ... a criminal offence ...involves circumventing copy protection"

    If you can copy it then ergo it is not copy protected. Case dismissed.

    (title abbreviated to fit)

    1. badger31
      Thumb Up

      Re: "The copying of the DVD ... a criminal offence ...involves circumventing copy protection"

      I was thinking along the same lines. " ... circumventing /effective/ copy protection." It's only effective until someone circumvents it. Oh, no. I've gone cross-eyed.

  5. Tony Paulazzo

    >In the OSI/A2K world view, the creative economy exists to deprive people of publicly owned goods. It is always conspiring against the public interest.<

    Just as the content gate keepers (hereafter named as Hollywood), view their customers with avarice & laziness - attempts to coerce customers into buying the same product in many different formats, remaking the same products with minimal differences over and over again, tying up their most profitable lines in years of copyright protectionism, ie Mickey Mouse.

    >In Malawi, harmful counterfeit drugs that injure citizens<

    Proof please - or at least a link...

    Copyright Act of 1790 - established U.S. copyright with term of 14 years with 14-year renewal

    Copyright Act of 1831 - extended the term to 28 years with 14-year renewal

    Copyright Act of 1909 - extended term to 28 years with 28-year renewal

    Copyright Act of 1976 - extended term to either 75 years or life of author plus 50 years

    Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 - extended terms to 95/120 years or life plus 70 years

    Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 - criminalized some cases of copyright infringement

    It seems a shame that a more middle ground can't be found. I'm pretty sure most right-minded people agree creativity deserves reward, like, 30 years is more than enough time to reap the benefits of something you created, but then it should be allowed to become a part of cultural heritage - could you imagine some of the scrapes that M. Mouse could've gotten into if the public were allowed to Fan Fiction him?

    DISCLAIMER: Only watched the first three minutes of the linked video (legally embedded I hope), but every word spoken up to that point was true.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      >In Malawi, harmful counterfeit drugs that injure citizens<

      Obviously Orlowski believes the solution is to create a monopoly for the multinationals which naturally brings the prices of drugs down to a level that all Malawians can afford. /sarc

      > we'll have a more-free society if we have fewer individual rights, and that in the long-term, destroying rewards for creators is both desirable and 'sustainable'.

      Yes we will. Mostly because the "creators" (i.e. legal owners) are not usually individuals at all, but the consumers are and out-number the creators, so more people are more free - we have a more free society. Government "for the people" should ring a bell, even with Americans.

      Destroying the extended reward system for creators encourages them to carry on being creative, rather than sitting back on their laurels after one success, snorting crack cocaine.

      The basis for any discussion should be the "no law" state. From a state of having now laws, how far should we go, giving legal monopoly cover before there is detriment to society? It may not be arriving at the corporation from a government bank account, but how much tax-payer money should we give to that corporation? The profit is over and above what the market would support, so yes, it is state-provided taxpayer cash.

      Personally, I feel there would be no great loss if One Direction disappeared into a large hole, pulling Simon Cowell with them. But that's just me. Pharmaceuticals deserve a few years. I probably wouldn't give films more than three years protection and so on. Perhaps there should be a "% of cost" trigger. You get three years if you recover your production costs. This is extended if you haven't recovered production (not marketing) costs.

      Ideas are not property. They bear no resemblance to property. To call them such is intellectually dishonest. I'm not saying that there should be no protection (unlike Orlowski's "if you're not with use, you're with the terrorists" attitude), but the quid pro quo in return for monopoly protection, is public use while they are still useful.

  6. NomNomNom

    There aren't any good movies or games anymore because of copyright infringers, so-called "pirates" (I prefer to call them Data Terrorists)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fashion business

    Tricky topic and interesting point of view. I can't help comparing music, film, publishing and tech businesses with the fashion business where copying is, seemingly, the norm. Enforcement, if there is any IP, impossible and expensive. Fashion moves on faster than a software up-date.

    How many stories are there about great designs of shoes and cloths produced by individuals that are ripped off by large fashion chains. How many commercial fashion trend setters are trolling through vintage clothing stores to bring the old back in fashion without having to design anything new.

    I'd be interested to see the numbers of those employed, the turnover and profits compared to the IP protected industries. Be useful to form an opinion rather than rely on one side or other of an argument and the associated spin.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Fashion business

      Fashion is an IP industry. Amazed that anyone could think it isn't.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fashion business

        Up to a point you are right, but, is it not trademarks and logos that are enforced. Quick search to check my point - see wiki here

        And, a good piece on Ted by Johanna Blakley: Lessons from fashion's free culture

        Fashion seems to offer an alternative to what the music, film, publishing, etc.. business want.

      2. SleepyJohn

        Re: Fashion business

        Please provide us with a link to free software that enables us to copy a Gucci handbag for nothing.

        The whole point of this problem is that digital items, unlike material ones, can be copied and distributed a billion times by almost anybody for virtually nothing. This clearly poses a major problem for those who create them, and also for those who consume them, as the only way to prevent such copying is to herd the whole human race into a global totalitarian state controlled with an iron fist by the MAFIAA and its political enforcers. And we all know who would vote for that. And who wouldn't.

        So, unless we are happy to bequeath such a social structure to our children, we must find a way for creators of digital content to make money without having to sell individual copies of the item. As King Canute might have said to his courtiers: "Don't try to stop the tide coming in, use it to generate power."

        And the more intelligent artists are starting to do precisely that: the author Paolo Coelhas uploads his books to The Pirate Bay and finds that the resultant publicity increases his paperback sales by literally miiions of copies a year; musicians are finding that global distribution of free songs hugely increases sales of Tee-shirts and concert tickets; if my TV station showed a grey logo of Coca-cola in the corner of the screen instead of TV3 they might make quite a few bob out of it; if film-makers put something similar on their films then, like Google, they could use massive free distribution to coerce more money out of the advertiser, and so on.

        Yes, some of these ideas are less than perfect, but perhaps somewhat less imperfect than a dictatorship controlled by the MAFIAA, with the streets clear for their black limos as all the ordinary folk are in prison. So, yes, copyright law IS a social problem, a massive one. And it requires a total rethink of the very concept of copyright, not just fiddling with the edges of it. We should devote our energies to altering the ship's course to avoid the iceberg, not just moving the deckchairs around so the company can charge more rent for them.

        Artists should be exhilaratingly surfing these huge waves of change, not obediently kneeling at the feet of sour-faced 'rights-holders' who sprawl in golden deckchairs screaming at their politician employees to abolish the waves as their feet are getting wet. And there is the nub, isn't it? 'Rights-holders' are the problem, not artists. Get rid of copyright and you will get rid of them. Artists can then engage directly with the public, as described above, to the massive benefit of all.

        The internet market is so mind-numbingly huge that an artist only has to obtain money from an almost unmeasurably miniscule proportion of it in order to make a fortune; he can use the ones who won't pay, to publicise him to the ones who will. Copyright needs to be abolished in its entirety in order that such exciting developments can take place without the hindrance of jack-booted rights-holders standing in the way with their greedy little parasitic hands permanently open and an army of lawyers brooding like vultures in the background.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Fashion business

          Nice one SleepyJohn.

          Really parody of David Icke+style freetard nuttiness.

          1. SleepyJohn

            Re: Fashion business

            I'm sure the Amish have a place in the world but I don't think it is the current 21st Century one.

            I wonder if there is any connection between the 12 million extra hits on The Pirate Bay the day after it was censored by the UK government and the 36% increase in sales of media? Perhaps if the government was capable of genuinely censoring this website there would be a further correlatable increase in the purchase of media? Those 12 million must surely have deprived the MAFIAA of three or four times the total world's GDP.

            If one extrapolates this over a year, using MAFIAA accounting methods, the sum total owed by the people of the world to the multi-billion dollar criminal conspiracy masquerading as the American Media Industry must very closely approximate to googolplex, which as we all know is such a large number that there isn't sufficent matter in the Universe on which to write it, even allowing for unused CDs. Perhaps this explains why the MAFIAA has not sued the UK government for allowing such rampant piracy - they don't have enough paper to write the figures on.

            Personally I put more faith in the rational observations of a highly-respected international author than in the hysterical assertions of a bunch of universally loathed international racketeers. And this:

            “Thanks to the High Court and the fact that the news was on the BBC, we had 12 MILLION more visitors yesterday than we had ever had before,” a Pirate Bay insider informed TorrentFreak today. “We should write a thank you note to the BPI,” he added.

            There is a clue here somewhere for those prepared to look. As TorrentFreak said: "t’s not possible to buy advertising “articles” from leading UK publications such as the BBC, Guardian and Telegraph, but yesterday The Pirate Bay news was spread across all of them and dozens beside, for free. The news was repeated around the UK, across Europe and around the world reaching millions of people. The results for the site were dramatic."

            As many have said, artists have more to fear from obscurity than piracy, and from the thieving morons so many of them have been tricked into signing extortionate contracts with (one long established musician described them as "legally close to slavery"). I think Thomas Jefferson is closer to this than David Icke.

            PS: Where is the link to my free Gucci handbag? I couldn't find it on The Pirate Bay.

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Time is a quality filter

      I think there *are* good movies, games and music still being created. It just looks like it was better in the old days because we don't re-show, re-broadcast or re-play the dross: the intervening years act as a filter.

      Countless films were made in 1942 - 1358 of them are listed in iMDB. They weren't all as good as Casablanca and most will never be shown again. I still occasionally play Timesplitters 2, but that doesn't mean that I think 2002 was somehow a golden year for videogames in general.

      I certainly don't think there should be an expectation that we should enjoy the works of others for free, nor that the works of those others should provide income for generations of their descendants long after their death. But I don't think we can claim that so-called 'piracy' is responsible for the death of all quality when we haven't really established that such a death has occurred.

    3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      "There aren't any good movies or games anymore because of copyright infringers, so-called "pirates" (I prefer to call them Data Terrorists)"

      Really? So the production companies insisting on never taking risks and just releasing the same old stuff over and over again has nothing to do with the problem then? If they had the balls or skills to spot what will be good rather than handing this task over to a beancounter first and then making it regardless then they would be more successful. Not that this selection is ever going to be an easy task, but it has been done quite successfully in the past.

      This is aside from the other side of the problem:

      In films there's the abject greed from the "stars" which combined with a braindead celebrity culture where no matter how poor the film is or the actor is at acting, herds will turn out and watch it anyway. As a result a huge chunk of the budget goes to these celebrities regardless of how good the end result is.

      In both films and games there's the over reliance on special effects and the enormous budget that this required, thereby moving the break-even point further into the distance. But how often do these special effects actually add something rather than, in a film, countering the lack of plot, dialog and acting and, in a game, the lack of gameplay and general playability?

      If you want good films and games, then go to the "Indie" (small publisher) scene, you'll be very surprised as the quality of both films and games that you can find is staggering. There's a lot of dross, but there's a lot of dross in the big budget titles as well...

      1. Dire Critic

        "moving the break-even point further into the distance"

        Ah, but there's the rub. Hollywood accountants deliberately use creative accounting techniques to make sure the film never does break-even, or even to ideally make a loss. They do this to prevent having to pay taxes based on profits, to reduce monies going to stars who are on a percentage of the profits etc.

        Not only do the Hollywood bean counters rip off us, the public, they even rip off their own.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Data Terrorists"

      Good one. What do you think about 'Copy Molesters', or 'Filthy IPaedophiles'?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Filthy IPaedophiles"

        You may have discovered an ideal epithet for people like A2K to use on their opponents. You realise that if the folk in Whitehall get hold of this our creative industries will be doomed?

        Nice job breaking it, hero.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The art of trolling has sadly declined over the years. The problem is at least partially due to the minimal investment in wit and satire thanks to the freely duplicable and redistributable 'memes' on the internet.

      Perhaps some sort of sub-pontis copyright enforcement mechanism is required?

    6. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      In a trolling mood today, Nom?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        You ought to see him Troll CAGW sites, Hey NomNomNom your Mum don't beleieve in CAGW.

        See what I did there ;)

    7. thesykes


      If "pirates" were the reason for the lack of good movies, it would be because film studios were unwilling to pump money into films they could not get back due to piracy.

      Perhaps you can explain why a studio would pour $200m into Battleship?

      Does all that money indicate a studio who doesn't believe it will get it's money back?

      The reasons for a lack of quality films are many...

      Hollywood's determination to milk every penny out of a franchise (Pirates 4 was terrible)

      Scriptwriters inability to actually write the ending to a film... I've seen far too many films recently where the film just stops, with no actual ending.

      A belief that taking a poor story and script and plastering over it with mega CGI will make a good film

      The lastest fad is to stick 3D onto films from 20 years ago and milk the audience (Titanic, Beauty & The Beast)

      A severe lack of creativity in the gaming and film industries is nothing to do with copyright or it's infringement.

    8. Tom 13

      Re: Fashion business

      Yeah, I'd like to see you try to sell something from Gucci that wasn't made by Gucci in NYC.

      If you make a clear rip-off of a protected design from a manufacturing facility in the US, you'll wind up in the pokey PDQ. Now, how many points of variation you need before it becomes yours is something a well-paid lawyer can spew about for hours.

      Fashion moves so quickly because it has nothing to do with science and everything to do with emotion. One evolves slowly from established facts, the other can change as quickly as you change, well, your clothes.

  8. Timothy Allen

    Right on, brother

    I'm a musician. I write original music, and I produce arrangements of other people's (copyrighted) music. I (unlike many arrangers) always seek permission from the copyright holder before making an arrangement, and so far, it's never been withheld. I get a benefit from the copyright protection on my original compositions (I can charge people for the right to perform them, and would have the law on my side if I decided to pursue someone who performed them without my permission), and I pay a price to other copyright holders in order to benefit from their work. It all seems perfectly equitable to me.

    Then organisations like this want to destroy that model, giving me no incentive to create other than "for the love of it". Well, you know what? I DO love creating, but I also need to eat, pay my mortgage and taxes etc. If there was no economic incentive for me to create and share my work, I'd probably still do some creating, but a hell of a lot less sharing. Why? Because I'd be too busy doing a day job to pay my bills. As it is, the modest income I get from sharing my creative work enables me to go on creating and sharing - and I tend to share pretty widely, so I'm "enriching the commons" by doing so, even though it's private enterprise. I don't understand why people feel that I shouldn't have the right to benefit financially from the work I do - it's a similar situation to the current brouhaha over musicians being asked to perform for free for events connected with the Olympics or the Queen's Jubilee. Just because we enjoy what we do, doesn't stop it being work!

    1. Anonymous Cowerd

      Re: Right on, brother

      If nobody wants to pay you for it, it isn't a job.

      1. Keep Refrigerated

        Re: If nobody wants to pay you for it, it isn't a job.

        I agree with this statement. I'm not perpetually being rewarded for the work I do today (which does involve coding) despite the fact my company and clients are going to benefit to the tune of hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

        Perhaps art, music and other creative works need to revert back to the work-for-hire model, where performances are commissioned with a one-time payment, and then simply accepted as public domain from then on.

        mp3 recordings should be treated with the same level of enforcement as photographs of museum pieces and public places, only really enforced on commercial use, not private. Then those in far off lands, who hear you via mp3 and want a public performance can commission you to travel and appear to perform it...

        Now if only popular musicians could take advantage of this business model somehow?!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Right on, brother

      I think most people have nothing against you making a living by selling your creations or doing performances.

      But most people think that having one good idea and re-selling it again and again to benefit 70 years after you're dead it a bit much.

      I for instance am a software engineer, I have written/devised/created many hundreds of items of software, all quite unique. I got paid a salary by the companies I worked for at the time, those companies don't have to keep paying me until I die for those creations.

      Alternatively any artist who creates a painting do not benefit every time someone looks at a apainting, they don't get a cut everytime that painting is re-sold. They have to keep working to make money just like almost everyone else in thw world.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Right on, brother

      I'm not a musician. I do write software and books. Often I'm simply paid for my labour and I no more expect future royalties than if I were the factory worker who made the chair I'm sitting on. In some instances I retain copyright whether to make money or by simply 'enriching the commons'. Like you, I'd be unable to do any of this if I couldn't pay the mortgage.

      Fact is many authors would be perfectly happy with say a 25 year copyright period with fair use provision. Publishers rarely take the very long view either, good luck if you are writing a book that will take 50 years to break even.

      Ever extending terms and scope of copyrights and patents is not about creative and inventive people. Its entirely about the rich getting richer leaving less for those who do the work. You really ought to be in favour of reform.

  9. Arms Control Poser

    Some historical and linguistic perspective

    "As Mincov puts it: "The reason I respect Patry’s position so much is that he understands that the balance model is nonsensical." Copyright is simply an economic incentive, founded on a temporary exclusive property right. It's a business stimulus, designed to create monetary exchanges and rewards. It has nothing to do with consumer rights."

    Don't like the word "balance"? Consider copyright as a bargain, then. You are correct to say that it is an incentive. Your admission that it is "temporary" points to the extraordinary nature of this right - that in UK law it has always been framed as a trade-off within certain fixed limits, ever since the 1709/10 'Act of Anne' or, as it is formally known, and this is important - "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning". [/quote]

    Do you see what they did there? They enshrined a concept of public benefit as the goal of a complex and contested bargain between the interests of producers and consumers. 'Balance' does go a certain way towards explaining this reality. 'Consumer Rights' is certainly an emotive term, but there's no more need to knee-jerk against the interests that they describe than there is to bristle at the term "private", as you claim the report's authors want their readers to. Markets don't assign rights: politics does, and it's always provisional and open to claim and counter-claim. Aspiring towards "a long-term ecology" is wishful, bordering on mystical thinking, if you imagine this could be self-sustaining.

    Lastly, neither Consumer International nor the A2K Network remotely fit the definition of a "quango."

  10. Turtle

    To me, personally...

    To me, a political movement that seeks to expropriate people, such a musicians, songwriters, photographers, independent film makers, &c, and deprive them of their property rights and economic rights for the sake of some of the largest corporations in the world, easily qualifies as "fascism".

    (By the way, isn't that the same "George Soros" who owns 2 million shares of Halliburton? Yes it is. But then he's in good company: Michael Moore also owns Halliburton stock.)

  11. Chris Miller

    Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho

    Qu'est-ce que la propriété ? La propriété c'est le vol ! - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865)

  12. PyLETS

    monopolies generally bad

    And this one taken to extremes especially so.

    Copyright and patents are monopolies granted by law. The justification for copyright was originally to incentivise creation of work which otherwise wouldn't be created. A monopoly of limited duration is granted in exchange. That was the original deal which is still fine by me, but what came next is anything but.

    A vested interest was so created (big media) which became for a while (pre Internet) the only voice in the argument about extending this monopoly. Here the foxes got to decide what's for dinner because the foxes and not the chickens controlled the printing press. Anyone following Levenson and the NI phone hacking scandal may be starting to get the influence those who purchase ink in large volumes have had over politics.

    So those who argue for _limited_ copyright are now being told by the foxes of this world to ignore those impeccable economists' logic making monopolies generally bad, we are called robbers on the high seas, anti-intellectuals, thieves, autistic. And what next ? Heretics who won't worship the "poor starving artists" (get the violins out) whose decendants must be kept too rich ever to have to work forever and the day ?

    So who cares when programmers who exercised what they foolishly thought was their freedom of speech exposing weaknesses of copyright protection schemes get locked up ? Who cares if our network communications get spied upon in the name of cracking down on content infringment ? Copyright, to last forever minus one day is to become the new human right for its owners who must be treated as gods, and all other economic and human rights must be made subservient to this new celebrity worshipping religion and the Fox/MPAA/RIAA priesthood which collects its revenues.

    Research into viewers of Fox News demonstrates these folk know less than those who watch no news at all: . The Foxes need to make sure at all costs us chicken's don't get wise, or they'll lose control of the henhouse for ever. That's the real threat the Internet creates to Mr Fox's business model.

  13. Bluenose

    And then there is the real story that never gets discussed.

    The world evolves and businesses grow and decline because things change. Kodak is on the verge of death because of all those patents relating to photography that have now lost all their value. Meanwhile patent trolls sit on the sidelines waiting for the best moment to make a quick buck from the company who reinvented the invention independently and then actually went to market with it to try and use it to provide value or utility to the public/business. And of course we have the patenting of blindingly obvious and standard processes which abounds in the US.

    I have no problem with individuals making money from their own creativity nor corporations who invest billions in ideas and research (and funnily enough that even extends to Hollywood and EMI). My objection is when they use those rights to prevent others from coming to market with better goods or try to make excessive profits because they have no competitors (lets be clear here, Apple does not licence its iPad, iPod or iPhone technology to anyone) that way leads to monopoly power which is wrong and does harm economies.

    I also object to people who have not actually sought to exploit a license for their own benefit. Why should they be able to receive compensation for not doing anything (let's be clear someone who invents and is then unable to find a buyer but has taken steps in the right direction does not deserve to be disenfranchised).

    The issue with IP today is not that it needs to be made available to the public or that creators need to give it up their rights. The real problem is that people should stop using it to prevent competition or seek excessive profits. Does Hollywood really incur an extra £4 per blue-ray (would love to see what is worth the additional £4 on some of my blu-ray disks). I would also like to see the prevention of patents being granted for commonsense ideas or approaches (like using the finger to push to one side as opposed to swiping the finger, to unlock my phone). Protect creativity but not commonsense.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Recording a "set" on MTV on your PVR.

    "Taping" music from the radio (as it was)

    Photocopying an article for future ref.

    Ripping a CD onto your PC to so you dont have to keep changing discs.



    It all happens all of the time, it happened in the past, and now the rest of society have finally figured out what a computer can actually do for them, it'll continue to happen in the future. Where were those whinging people in the 70's/80's when 1,000,000's of kids sat infront of the radio "taping" the chart count down?

    The industry should have found ways to work with the public and stop trying to sue eveyone.

    Like it or not, it's going to happen.

    We should be able to sell/trade our licences. Because essentially or not buying a CD/DVD, your purchasing the right to watch the content. Ultraviolet anyone?

    IP is just bollox, whether you like that, or not!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still get frustrated when people call piracy a crime,

    Copyright violation in the UK, as in distributing torrents & similar, is only a criminal offence when you "distribute in the course of a business, or to an extent prejudicial to the copyright owner." (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988)

    I.E. it has to harm the copyright owner...

    Where is the proof that copying of films is harmful to the film industry? Would every downloader have gone to watch it at the cinema or buy it on DVD when it comes out?

    Would every person who watched a tv show they downloaded, watch it on tv instead?

    Would every person who downloaded a song, buy it instead? or just listen to the radio?

    I probably spend £10-£20 a week on dvd's, so I am not a freetard, but I think we need the industries to realise people download because they LIKE the product, and want to watch it how they want to watch it, not how their told to watch it...

    Give us cheap DRM free downloads, and you'll see a surge in purchases.

    Give us a good selection of new TV on streaming , and there will be a surge in subscribers...

    But the key thing is availability, while it takes less time for people to torrent than it does to use legal means, and get better quality, they will torrent...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the incentives are removed, A2K would insist, people may still create, donating the fruits of their labour to the greater good out of altruism. If property rights are removed, as they advocate, they'll have little choice over the matter anyway.

    Thank you for the above, historical references duly noted?

    p.s. in the bipolar spirit then, better dead than red?

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Historical references

      Well, there is one I'd think most Brit and 'Merkins would be well aware of: The Massachusetts Bay Company. I believe they chartered a colony which required adherence to just the principles being advocated by A2K. Funny thing happen though. Half the colony died in the first year. It only turned prosperous once they ripped up the agreement and turned back to private property rights, fruit of your labor, etc. etc.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't get it

    Why is Andrew writing as though content creators are being victimised here?

    Seems to me the argument of A2K targets middle-men that add little value.

    Then there's CI quoted in the references out-law article:

    "The term extension makes little sense except as a measure to bolster the flagging balance sheets of big record companies. Certainly, very little of the benefit will flow to performers, most of whom are paid a fixed fee for their performances, and never see a penny of royalties."

    I have no idea how paying to license 70yr dead guy's music helps creativity, sustains culture, etc.

    All I see is some no talent parasitic asshole middle-man buying a new yacht, and new talent trying to find success without being exploited by same.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Don't get it

      > Seems to me the argument of A2K targets middle-men that add little value.

      Right... and wrong. Most of the commerce is due to the promotional efforts of the middle men. They just don't participate much in the creative process.

      So Susan Boyle sings at the local choral society. If you really value creativity, do something about it and support your local artists. There we have the creative process without particularly high reward. One Direction sings in a garage somewhere and perhaps posts the results to youtube. Again, not much finance involved, but the creativity continues.

      However, it is Simon Cowell who buys up the advertising time, arranges premium rate SMS systems, organises "judges" for a faux-reality show and arranges time in a recording studio. Now we have massive economic activity. The creativity-that-needs-finance-and-thus-legal-protection is all Mr Cowell's and he is the one that reaps the rewards. The artist is Cowell, Susan Boyle is just the paint.

      The question is, whether we think Mr Cowell's business should be given legal monopoly protection.

  18. Sam Liddicott

    The greater good?

    "Via A2K, his Open Society Institute campaigns for the removal of economic liberties, and the destruction of markets, arguing that this is necessary for the greater good."

    Maybe the greater people don't want his greater good

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is it black and white.

    The pro people are: Ooo we need copyright for 100 years for so my great grandchildren can benefit and I can sit on my arse for life.

    the anti-people are ooh it's immoral for you to live of one work for your to support your unborn grandkids and live on your arse for life.

    How about a happy medium.

    No restrictions on copyright for reproduction for personal use. Provided you have the original you can make as many copies as you want for yourself. Distribution to 3rd parties is still illegal

    X number years (say 5) for non-commercial use. Distribution restrictions remain.

    50 years free of copyright

    Hows that for an idea.

  20. pip25
    Thumb Up

    Sorry, Andrew

    I think that video was spot-on on the problems faced today, actually.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it."

    Welcome to the free market content creators (not that I think any new content has actually been created for some time)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I gave freely to a "pay what you want" system of purchase on a "DRM free release" of some media today. See that, I paid an artist directly for their work, even when I had the option not to. No law or enforcement required. The artist set out to gain customers, and did just that.

    Why are others looking to gain criminal proceedings when the customers are queuing up to give money!

    1. NomNomNom

      "See that, I paid an artist directly for their work, even when I had the option not to"

      That's just because you feel guilt for your crimes now you'll probably just use this act to justify further data terrorism offences.

      what's the going cost on guilt then? how many hundreds of stolen movies does a $2 guilt downpayment "pay" for?

  23. El Presidente

    The biggest problem facing all creative *individuals*

    Is that every time the issue of copyright arises, the discussion is immediately subverted by freetards in favour of relaxing copyright, to the sole benefit the freetard.

    This in turn plays right into the hands of Big Business in handing ammunition to the quangos and academics who want to be seen to be doing something because they've been told that something needs to be done.

    Nothing needs to be done without the FULL consent of those creating IP

    Nothing should to be done without the FULL consent of those creating IP

    The INDIVIDUAL working in the creative industries WILL suffer financially from collateral damage in the Battle of the Freetards vs the Lobbyists. That's a given.

    The quangos will feel they've done something and the academics will saunter off to the refectory, on the public purse, to dream up another way of justifying their existence whilst coming up with more unrealistic business models they themselves are not subject to.

    Big business will be given a license to hoover up EVERYTHING not nailed down to be re-sold at their rates, under their own terms and conditions (rights grabs aplenty) take it or leave it.

    It's happening now and it's getting worse.

  24. Anon E Mus

    No balance - I agree

    I agree this issue is one where a "balance" view completely fails. The fact is that the law has invented a problem with people who share things that they own. This "problem" is a fiction, at best. Removing from law would be a nice small step forward.

  25. Ben Norris
    Thumb Down

    accessibility is not just as good

    Current copyright laws are killing innovation because hardly anyone can take the risk of building on someone else's work, either that they will allow you to use it at all or not make absurd demands that would render your added value entirely unprofitable.

    Technology has brought down the barriers of invention to everyday people and yet the law has not only not kept up but in fact is getting worse. We used to be world leaders in transport, industry, energy, etc, now all we can export are financial services and coockie cutter boybands.

  26. NomNomNom

    the thing about copyright and intelilectual property is its the law. you should ALWAYS obey the law. If you don't obey the law you are being UNLAWFUL which is a crime. what's next - joyriding? armed robbery? just buy the movie ffs.

  27. Sean Timarco Baggaley


    "Fair Use" exists in the UK.

    Actually, no. You're confusing the US legal concept of "Fair Use" with the British one—which is rather more restricted—of "[b]Fair Dealing[/b]" The two are not interchangeable.

    "Current copyright laws are killing innovation." (Ben Norris.)

    Evidence, please? There is more content being produced today than there ever was. Much of it may not be to your taste, but that's true of every generation. I was no great fan of Punk when I was growing up in the 1970s. (I still don't think much of The Beatles either, come to that. I'd much rather listen to The Monkees. I'm well aware that many of the Monkees' songs were written by others, but so what? Good music is good music no matter who writes it.)

    "Why is Andrew writing as though content creators are being victimised here?" (A.C. 18:38).

    Because these debates invariably degenerate into slanging matches between freeloaders and "Old Media"—as if "Old Old" provided a majority of the world's content. Got news for you: most content creators are on work-for-hire contracts and you've probably never even heard of them. Who do you think writes all that incidental music and title music for all the TV shows cranked out every day of every year in every country?

    Yes, "Old Media" do have a habit of re-releasing The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, but that's because the next generation of musicians is having increasing difficulty working out what the hell it is those old dinosaurs can offer them. Increasingly, "Old Media" are relying on their back catalogue. Pretty soon, that back catalogue will be [i]all[/i] they have left. They're just desperately trying to ensure that catalogue will still be there to pay for their directors' pensions.

    "Water is a necessity for living, but so is entertainment in today's society." (DavCrav).

    Seriously? Entertainment is now considered a necessity on a par with [i]water[/i] according to you? Perhaps you should get out more, because I have news for you: it isn't. You can survive for an entire lifetime without entertainment. You can survive for about three days without water. See the difference there?

    Also: if you consider entertainment so important, what's stopping you learning to play the piano, the guitar, or taking singing lessons? The existence of copyrighted works does not prevent the existence of free alternatives. You DO have a choice. You always have. There is no shortage of Public Domain works. The Gutenberg Project wouldn't even be possible without those. Why do people like you ignore all those works and insist on taking copyrighted works instead? Those copyrighted works must have [i]some[/i] value, or you wouldn't be trawling torrent sites to find them would you?


    The original article quotes people as saying that many creatives will simply have to put up with not getting any money from their works. That they'll have to do it for the love of it alone.

    Perhaps the ignorant buggers at A2K might want to look up the etymology of the word "amateur". (Here's a hint: it's a French word.) You'd better get used to hearing that term a lot, because it's going to be describing pretty much every creative work if A2K get their way.


    Finally, know this: without the legal concept of intellectual property, there can be no "Copyleft". Those GNU Public Licenses, and all their merry band? Dead. Gone. Without IP, they have no legal basis as they're built on the exact same assumptions as Copyright.

    There, that's got you worried.

    1. Ben Norris

      Re: Hmmm.

      "There is more content being produced today than there ever was." Sean Timarco Baggaley

      You seem to be confusing 'content' with innovation which is exactly the problem. Endless dross may be entertaining and make money but it doesn't actually benefit society or move the human race forward.

      The discussion about IP law shouldn't be one about whether musicians or fatcats get paid, it should be about for example why the fax machine could never be updated and how the current laws are holding us back from doing great things (which will also happen to make money as well)

  28. Peter Galbavy

    IMHO Most commentards misunderstand copyright vs patents vs any other form of IP protection.

    Again, IMHO and ignoring legalese, copyright is there to give protection to a creator of a work so that they can be rewarded in exchange for the effort creating it. It is a protection for the creator of a work to give them a living. What it shouldn't be is a barrier to others also creating original works and making a living from those. Just like anything else these rights can be bought and sold and that is fair. Having this protection extend WAY beyond the time that the original creators own children could in theory benefit (the original copyright being for 14 years - the length of two apprenticeships) is over the top and is just a protection for the businesses that exist to "farm" copyright.

    Patents on the other hand are almost the OPPOSITE of copyright; The give the "inventor" of something unique and original the right to make money from others using the original idea. Unlike copyright is prevents other from creating their own original works that are similar but should be there to allow for clever new things to make it to market while still earning the inventor a share of his/her genius.

    The consumer right to transform the content of a carrier (CD/DVD/ebook) to something you can actually watch/read the way you want should be enshrined in consumer protection and should not be something that an IP owner should be able to prevent either through the law or through technical protection. Outlaw DRM and many many problems go away.

  29. The BigYin

    Copyright is not wrong

    Nor are trademarks, nor are patents. What is wrong is the ever increasing copyright term. It is far too long and will eventually become a tax on culture in all-but-name unless the rot is reversed. One could also consider patents (especially in the software field) as a tax on innovation, although patents do do their job rather well in other areas.

    Breach of trademarks is basic fraud and I see no issue with dealing with those people harshly.

    But seriously - the copyright rot must be stopped.

  30. Purlieu

    Mickey Mouse

    Disney already have Mickey Mouse trademarked etc so why on earth did they need to extend copyright c.f. Sonny Bono and all that. At least I expect they did, and not just the worthless TM thing (equals "we can't be arsed/can't afford to register this as a trademark) yes worthless even in the US .... look it up

  31. Iggle Piggle

    Where's the incentive to be creative?

    Sure it is a pain in the backside to find your genes are patented and so is any cure. It's also arguably annoying that copying your favourite bands latest track across the internet is illegal if all you want to do is have a copy on your work machine. But why should creative people be penalised for being creative rather than having manual jobs? Once the return on creativity is zero who will bother being creative?

    I'm not against open source, there are clearly merits to that, nor am I opposed to artists releasing material that is copyright free. But it should be the authors decision and not a bunch of people who are clearly cheesed off that their ideas are all patented by people who had those ideas sooner.

    1. Tony Paulazzo

      Re: Where's the incentive to be creative?

      >Once the return on creativity is zero who will bother being creative?<

      What, you mean people like Beethoven, William Blake, John William Waterhouse, Lowry, Mozart, Oscar Wilde, Vincent van Gogh, the pyramid builders, hieroglyphics....

      The need to (pro)create is a burning need in the breast of (wo)man, they'd do it for nothing (Oscar Wilde (imprisoned for his art) and Van Gogh died penniless), they do it because they need to do it - it's probably worse than a junkie cold turkeying...

      DISCLAIMER: I'm for 'reasonable' copyright and rewarding creatives.

      PS. Still waiting for justification about the Malawi drugs reference in the original article (cheap no brand drugs killing off poor third world citizens).

  32. daveeff
    IT Angle

    Fair Use

    If it is OK to rip a CD to my MP3 player (i believe it is morally if not legally) is it OK to download the MP3 of an album I own on vinyl?

    If I am paying for the ip of the s/w / music / literature / movie am I entitled to my money back if it's not fit for purpose? Says it runs on Xp but doesn't, says it's a comedy and I never laughed ....


  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Article appears to be point missing sophistry and ironically anti-Capitalist.

    Yes, Soros has some unfortunate collectivist ideas, however he is a successful commercial predator, so there is some truth in his organisations ideas.

    Ironically Patent and Copyright law is collectivism and based on ideas which Adam Smith strongly argued against in the Wealth of Nations e.g. protected Guilds, a precursor to Corporations!

    Copyrights and Patents are a Corporatist state mechanism not to protect property (which is only physical) but to provide state subsidised anti-Capitalist monopolies on arbitrary public ideas, many derived from "Prior Art", and at tax payer cost, for Corporate profit i.e. a form of Corporate Welfare. This is the externalised 'right' of Corporations to stop other people and businesses from using existing ideas thus have to "reinvent the wheel", thus cause a profusion of redundant and wasteful design tweaks which have nothing to do with progress or a sound economy! Worse the duration of these rights often far exceeds the time period for any conceivable justifiable pay-back period, thus caused unnecessary damage and has brought 'IP' law into disrepute.

    e.g. Dyson and Apple may make some nice products, however their patents are often for slight modification of "Prior Art", thus abusive and parasitic plagiarism, so definitely a bad idea and not helpful for genuine Capitalism and human progress!

    The reason we see so many 'fakes' of products is because of the significant price differences between over regulated and so-called IP protected original designer products, and counterfeit copies, thus ample room for arbitrage by opportunists. Ironically some of this 'fake' products are the same product made on the same production line but to different channels or even just grey imports.

    Counterfeit could be dealt with by use of registered Trade Marks on goods and Caveat Emptor education, rather than Copyright or Patents.

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